Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
September 2, 2012
12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am
; for I am
as ye are
: ye have not injured me at all.
13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even
as Christ Jesus.
15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been
possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
17 They zealously affect you, but
not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
18 But it is
good to be zealously affected always in a
, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
1901 ASV Translation
12 I beseech you, brethren, become as I am
, for I also am become
as ye are
. Ye did me no wrong:
13 but ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you the first time:
14 and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but ye received me as an angel of God, even
as Christ Jesus.
15 Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
16 So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth?
17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them.
18 But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you
20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you.
- I. Paul's Seriously Sought Request of the Galatians [See Study Notes for 8/26 (201)].
- A. The verb used (translated "beseech") is typically used in high pressure situations and signals a significant interest in getting another to respond to a specific issue in a specifically described manner.
- B. The translators' dilemma.
- II. The Galatians' Former Behavior/Attitude.
- A. They "know" that "I preached the Gospel to you at the first because of a weakness of the flesh" [See Study Notes for 8/26 (201)].
- 1. The outstanding fact, overlooked by yours truly in the former notes, is this: Paul's weakness of the flesh was the foundation for his experience of the extreme glory of the third heaven as he explained in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4.
- 2. It was that experience that was the actual "driver" for his preaching to them "because of" the "weakness of the flesh" that was imposed upon him. Who wouldn't be highly motivated to preach with an experience like that burning in his heart?
- B. Their former behavior.
- 1. They did him no harm.
- a. This, according to Matthew 20:13, is a term that has to do with violating one's "agreements".
- b. Luke 10:19 uses the term to identify "harm" done by "serpents" and "scorpions" -- i.e. physical pain inflicted without any consideration of "legalities". However, Luke used the term in Acts in five texts which all have to do with violations of what is "righteous" (legally "just").
- c. The idea is that the Galatians did not impose upon him any hurtful thing. This means that they acted out of a grace/mercy mindset.
- 2. They did not despise him because of the condition of his flesh (he had to have looked "a mess" when he appeared before them after having been stoned to death -- bruises, lacerations, swelling lumps, etc.).
- a. Paul calls his appearance a "trial of them". This means that they were put into a situation where they had to "make a call" in terms of how they would "react" to what they saw.
- b. He apparently thought that his appearance would have naturally caused them to reject him, but they went against that natural inclination.
- 1) Paul's term, translated "despised", is a term that indicates an attitude taken against someone or something that is considered of little, or no, value because it is seen as "hopelessly inadequate to the task to which it is applied".
- 2) There are texts/contexts wherein this "attitude" is driven by a rather profound sense of moral superiority (Luke 18:9 is an example; Romans 14:3 is another).
- 3. They did not spurn him because of the condition of his flesh. This is the only time in the New Testament that this word shows up and it is a word that was coined by means of using the physical act with its associated sound to make up the word. The word is "ekptuo" and, when pronounced, sounds like someone who brings up spittle and spits it out of his mouth. Spitting has always been a way for people to indicate how absolutely they disrespect the object that caused it.
- 4. They embraced him.
- a. As an angel of God. The word "angel" ought to be considered more in terms of "messenger" (the bearer of a "message") than in terms of another kind of created being. John the Baptizer was identified by this term in Mark 1:2. However, Paul was treated as a "god" in some of his experience with the Galatians and he does use the term "angel" in his writings to refer to "angelic beings" rather than messengers. That said, the point of Paul's entire letter is that his message is from God and the Galatians had little trouble in the beginning accepting that.
- b. As Jesus Christ. Clearly, the Galatians treated Paul with an amazing respect.
- 5. They would have plucked out their eyes for him.
- a. Apparently some of the wounds he received were around his eyes and those wounds also apparently damaged his sight.
- b. They were sufficiently empathetic to actually wish they could impart their own eyes to him.